Tips: Travel Safely This Holiday Season

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With all the shopping, decorating and celebrating over the holiday season, it’s easy to let details slip through the cracks. Just be careful that they aren’t your travel plans. 

 WWJ’s Vickie Thomas spoke with Mike Conway spokesman for the Detroit Metro Airport about tips for the hectic time.

“There will be traffic, more traffic than normal, more passengers than normal, the check-in lines will be kind of long. So you might want to give yourself a little bit of extra time, if you’re traveling around the holidays,” Conway said.

Since the airport policies can really change in just a few years, Conway recommends getting up-to-date.

“Visit our website, because there’s a lot of good information on our website, also TSA’s website, he said.

“If you haven’t traveled for a while, just knowing what the prohibited items are in carry-on and in checked luggage, knowing what the airline weight limits are on checked bags, so there’s no surprises, you’re not repacking your bags in the ticket lobby, those kinds of things,” Conway added.

Mike Conway also reminds those picking up friends and family to wait in the cell phone parking lot.  Idling in the pick-up areas is illegal.   

Brush up on travel regulations on the TSA site or the Metro Airport website

Consider these AAA Michigan tips for holiday travelers:

• Make all reservations in advance of your departure. Request written confirmation of travel, hotel, and entertainment documents. Keep one photocopy in your suitcase and another with a family member.

• Pay in advance. If you feel comfortable doing so, prepaid reservations can help avoid long lines or getting bumped.

• Pack lightly. Unwieldy bags can make you more vulnerable to theft. Mail gifts in advance of your trip.

• Bring extra medication. Bad weather can mean unexpected trip delays.

• Clean out your wallet. Carry only your drivers license and credit cards you really need.

• Carry travelers cheques or debit cards instead of cash. Both can be easily replaced if money is lost or stolen.

• Purchase trip insurance from your travel agent. Advance planning will protect against such things as trip cancellation or lost baggage.

Last year, AAA estimated that 87.7 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles over the holidays—85 percent of which drove.
 
“Because of weather conditions and increased traffic, staying safe on the roads over the holidays takes a few additional precautions,” said Patrick Bennett, BBB Spokesperson. “Before loading up the family, make sure the car is in good shape and you’re prepared for bad weather. While you’re driving, put down your cell phone or GPS and focus on the road ahead.”

The Better Business Bureau recommends taking the following steps for safe driving:

Create a car safety kit – Holiday driving often includes the threat of dangerous winter weather. Snow and ice lead to accidents, car troubles, long delays and road closures. You can prepare for bad weather by creating your own safety kit. Basics for the kit include a blanket, flashlight with extra batteries, radio, first aid kit, jumper cables, non-perishable foods like granola bars and nuts, bottled water, an ice scraper and warm gloves.

Take the car in for a checkup – Breaking down on the side of the road can definitely put a damper on the holiday spirit. If your car is due for a check up, take it in before making that long haul. At the very least, check the car’s fluid levels, wipers and tire pressure. Check the condition of your tires and, if you plan on driving through serious winter weather, consider getting snow tires.  

Take the Better Business Bureau with you – When you’re away from home or in the midst of an emergency, it’s hard to know which businesses—such as tow trucks and locksmiths—you can trust. The good news is you can now rely on BBB’s mobile optimized website for finding businesses you can trust when you’re away from your computer.

Start early and slow down – The best way to fight holiday traffic is to give yourself some extra time to make the trip, and don’t speed. Speeding leads to accidents which increase traffic even more. Also, if you’re caught speeding by law enforcement, that adds travel time and puts a dent in your holiday spending.

Drop the distractions – According to the National Safety Council, 28 percent of accidents happen when people are talking on their cell phone or sending text messages.  When you’re behind the wheel, don’t text and drive, use a hands free headset when talking on the phone and get someone else to fumble with the GPS.

For more advice from the BBB on staying safe over the holidays, visit this link.

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